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Old 09-08-2020, 09:04 PM   #1
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FRISCO , TX
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2021 Classic 33 - Initial Notes - Delivery and Quality

Hello all,

My wife and I took delivery of our new 2021 Classic 33 FBQ (Comfort White/Earl Grey) on Friday/Saturday and I thought I would pass along a few notes on our experience.

We purchased from Airstream DFW and Jeff Bonner was our sales rep. While there were some negatives in the experience, overall, we feel good about the purchase and our experience with the dealership. We would have no issue purchasing from them again.

There are some quality issues that should have been revealed and fixed in their Pre-Delivery Inspection. While we were not there and canít tell for sure, but we suspect that they cleaned it well but did little real PDI - which will become evident below. Letís be clear though, Thor/Airstream should be ashamed of selling a top dollar product with such shoddy manufacturing practices. All in all, it is what we expected though given everyone elseís experiences and this is our second unit so we knew what we were getting into...still happy campers!

1. Pulling out of the dealership - no trailer brakes...truck does not believe there is a trailer attached. Ended up having to leave the trailer there over night. That was extremely disappointing. Returned next morning and worked with Charlie (their hitch guy) who was awesome BTW. Ended up finding that the brake controller wire from the 7 way was installed at the 12 volt box without having been stripped. Thanks Airstream. I feel super sorry for the transporter that drug this beast from OH to TX with no brakes.

2. Dometic Fridge - Not really an issue from Airstream or Dometic...it just happened and we spent a huge amount of time trying to troubleshoot. Basically, the dealer turned off the propane while tending to issue number 1. Fridge cooled down on shore power but then had no cooling on our travel day because the propane was off. This brought into focus the acute issue of being a 2 way vs 3 way unit. Took forever to get it back working...in the end, had to run the stove top burners for 2-3 mins to get air out of the lines.

3. Bose Sound Bar - No sound. Optical cable was not attached and was hanging in the back of the cabinet. PDI should have detected this. Of course, the optical cable itself is too short and just barely reaches to the sound bar which has to be pushed to the rear of the cavity itís in so it will reach.

4. Radio - No Signal - Bag was found in a cabinet with the antenna. Should have been installed on the roof. PDI should have detected this. What else was possibly missed?

5. No Hot Water at Shower. Hot was flowing to both sinks no problem but shower was ice cold. Spent hours again troubleshooting...changing the Alde pump settings...etc. Finally, I wondered if they plumbed it wrong to begin with. Slid the lever to cold and got hot water. Either the factory plumed it backwards or the valve is installed backwards.

6. Satellite cable - Airstream could have very easily put the satellite cable behind the radio...where it should be. But no...they left it in the wall cavity. A $40 line tracer from Home Depot finally helped me find it and fish it out. Of course, itís too short to reach to anything.

7. Zip Dee Awning - Wonít open on its own without human assistance with the rear arm. Dealer said this was normal. I donít think so. Retracted it last night and did not watch it to completion...woke up this AM and it had stopped retracting at about 1 foot out. Thankful no wind whipped up during the night.

8. On board Wi-Fi - worked great on day one. Moved locations and it has not worked here at all. I recognize itís all based on cell signal but the disappointing thing is we are 600 yards from a massive cell tower and we get full bars outside at the front of the trailer. Our phones are AT&T. Airstream technician just kind of blew us off and said we were in a location that was not receiving enough cell signal. Iíll need to really study up on this and find an alternative...hard to work remotely with no wi-fi. Additionally, the wi-fi network within the coach ceased to work without the cell signal. Not sure why it does that...kills the ability to use the network for local printing.

9. General Notes. Having been in all the cavities and under the sofa, It continues to be sad that the manufacturing process leaves trash in places they must think you will never see. This is a small nit but when you power on the air conditioners, their default setting is heat vs. cool. Another nit is the bathroom faucet is too far away from the sink and is hard to use without splashing water all over the countertop. Lastly, the multiple ratís nests of cables is something I just canít wrap my head around. Itís going to bug me enough that Iíll likely take things apart and organize the wiring the way it should be.

Again - we are over the top happy with the purchase and love it ... but that does not excuse the poor quality control. Additionally, lack of PDI is really not acceptable either. Iíll update if anything else crops up...this is the end of day 3 on the road.

Cheers
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:29 PM   #2
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These issues sound frustrating. As someone planning to make my first purchase of an AS, are issues such as these common? You reference you knew what to expect. I think I’d be heartbroken if I spent the money to get one and had so many issues. This makes me think twice.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:36 AM   #3
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Welcome to ownership of a top-of-the-line RV, turns out the industry bar is at sea level for quality. Based on my experience with a 2020 Globetrotter 30RBT, you will find a lot more issues over the next few months, including a box full of random screws and rivets in the strangest places. Expect to have the trailer in for warranty service every 1-2 months for the next year to work out all the issues. Good news is the work is all covered: bad news is with the recent AS sales surge, every service dept. is swamped and booking a month out and it takes about a week to complete service.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:37 AM   #4
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From what I have read on this forum, this is normal. It can be hit or miss with those getting a complete lemon and others not having a single issue. None of these issues are deal killers but we sure wish the dealer had done the PDI appropriately...which would have solved most of these issues before we even set foot in it. I would guess Thor will not pay attention to improving their quality until their sales start to suffer. Aside from the COVID-19 induced buying hysteria, I would expect the lack of quality will catch up to them at some point.

With that being said, unless you step into a higher-end motor coach, there just is not much out there with finishes that don't look like cheap that you see in almost every RV. To each their own but additionally, what's up with the sea of brown and tan in the industry? The pain we go through with a new unit is worth it for us. We don't buy Airstream so others will ooooh and ahhhh about it...but nevertheless, many do.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmassey321 View Post
Hello all,

My wife and I took delivery of our new 2021 Classic 33 FBQ (Comfort White/Earl Grey) on Friday/Saturday and I thought I would pass along a few notes on our experience.

We purchased from Airstream DFW and Jeff Bonner was our sales rep. While there were some negatives in the experience, overall, we feel good about the purchase and our experience with the dealership. We would have no issue purchasing from them again.

There are some quality issues that should have been revealed and fixed in their Pre-Delivery Inspection. While we were not there and canít tell for sure, but we suspect that they cleaned it well but did little real PDI - which will become evident below. Letís be clear though, Thor/Airstream should be ashamed of selling a top dollar product with such shoddy manufacturing practices. All in all, it is what we expected though given everyone elseís experiences and this is our second unit so we knew what we were getting into...still happy campers!

1. Pulling out of the dealership - no trailer brakes...truck does not believe there is a trailer attached. Ended up having to leave the trailer there over night. That was extremely disappointing. Returned next morning and worked with Charlie (their hitch guy) who was awesome BTW. Ended up finding that the brake controller wire from the 7 way was installed at the 12 volt box without having been stripped. Thanks Airstream. I feel super sorry for the transporter that drug this beast from OH to TX with no brakes.

2. Dometic Fridge - Not really an issue from Airstream or Dometic...it just happened and we spent a huge amount of time trying to troubleshoot. Basically, the dealer turned off the propane while tending to issue number 1. Fridge cooled down on shore power but then had no cooling on our travel day because the propane was off. This brought into focus the acute issue of being a 2 way vs 3 way unit. Took forever to get it back working...in the end, had to run the stove top burners for 2-3 mins to get air out of the lines.

3. Bose Sound Bar - No sound. Optical cable was not attached and was hanging in the back of the cabinet. PDI should have detected this. Of course, the optical cable itself is too short and just barely reaches to the sound bar which has to be pushed to the rear of the cavity itís in so it will reach.

4. Radio - No Signal - Bag was found in a cabinet with the antenna. Should have been installed on the roof. PDI should have detected this. What else was possibly missed?

5. No Hot Water at Shower. Hot was flowing to both sinks no problem but shower was ice cold. Spent hours again troubleshooting...changing the Alde pump settings...etc. Finally, I wondered if they plumbed it wrong to begin with. Slid the lever to cold and got hot water. Either the factory plumed it backwards or the valve is installed backwards.

6. Satellite cable - Airstream could have very easily put the satellite cable behind the radio...where it should be. But no...they left it in the wall cavity. A $40 line tracer from Home Depot finally helped me find it and fish it out. Of course, itís too short to reach to anything.

7. Zip Dee Awning - Wonít open on its own without human assistance with the rear arm. Dealer said this was normal. I donít think so. Retracted it last night and did not watch it to completion...woke up this AM and it had stopped retracting at about 1 foot out. Thankful no wind whipped up during the night.

8. On board Wi-Fi - worked great on day one. Moved locations and it has not worked here at all. I recognize itís all based on cell signal but the disappointing thing is we are 600 yards from a massive cell tower and we get full bars outside at the front of the trailer. Our phones are AT&T. Airstream technician just kind of blew us off and said we were in a location that was not receiving enough cell signal. Iíll need to really study up on this and find an alternative...hard to work remotely with no wi-fi. Additionally, the wi-fi network within the coach ceased to work without the cell signal. Not sure why it does that...kills the ability to use the network for local printing.

9. General Notes. Having been in all the cavities and under the sofa, It continues to be sad that the manufacturing process leaves trash in places they must think you will never see. This is a small nit but when you power on the air conditioners, their default setting is heat vs. cool. Another nit is the bathroom faucet is too far away from the sink and is hard to use without splashing water all over the countertop. Lastly, the multiple ratís nests of cables is something I just canít wrap my head around. Itís going to bug me enough that Iíll likely take things apart and organize the wiring the way it should be.

Again - we are over the top happy with the purchase and love it ... but that does not excuse the poor quality control. Additionally, lack of PDI is really not acceptable either. Iíll update if anything else crops up...this is the end of day 3 on the road.

Cheers
Hi dmassey321,*

Congratulations on your new Airstream. Please don't ever hesitate to reach out to us for assistance.

You can also reach Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at*customersupport@airstream.com

Thank you.*
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:15 AM   #6
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I am sorry to here that you are having these issues. We just took delivery of our 2021 Classic 30' RBT in early Agust and are having some of the same issues. The brakes not working when we pulled out of dealership, they fixed a couple of weeks later found a bad ground wire. The Czone system is not working the favorites come up blank and we were told in the walk thru that is something we set up and everything that I have ready that is nor true. Czone will also time out and lock up the screen leaving us to have to disconnect the battery to rest. Czone defult is heat when you go to climate control which is weird as we have an entire separate heating system so you think the default would be the AC? The wifi works when were are in our driveway but when we get out in a camp ground or on the road it barley works. The airstream smart app will not update to let us setup our network name or password and will not let us add to our profile in-app. Our blake out shades will not stay up in most of the windows so having all of these windows for a view is difficult. The tv in the bedroom will not do anything weather hooked to cable or trying to watch a movie. The movie will play but it will freeze every 30 seconds and play for 30 seconds and freeze again. Cant figure out how to to get cable to work when hooked to campground cable, on main tv and have tried everything. The latches on the outside storage areas a very weak and bent when you try to latch. One of mine was already broke when I got home from our first trip. We are frustrated but very happy with our purchase. This is or first rig of any type and we were prepared that we will have some issues but not to this level. We do think some of these problems could be from lack of experience. We are enjoying every trip and will be making notes for a repair list. We are not full time and living in Michigan we will not be able to use our rig this winter so hoping to have most of these issues fixed when we drop it off this fall for repairs so it is ready to go in the spring!
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:34 AM   #7
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It doesn't instill much confidence when right out of the gate you find so many issues. I feel fortunate that my 2020 FC 27's punch list was a bit shorter but I'm still finding items every now and then. On your list, item #5 the shower hot-cold reversal, I can share that rotating the cartridge in the valve 180į will fix the issue and get hot to come out from the hot side. Hopefully your list will shorten quickly.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:40 AM   #8
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What is sad is that although I have been lurking/a member of the forum for 8 years, there have always been quality problems. However, in the past few years, with ramped-up production, the quality problems reported on the forum have multiplied significantly. And...this is with the proclamations from management that they care about quality. I would really love for their sales to take a hit because of the inconsistent quality, but it does not seem that buyers know or care.

Larry
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:48 AM   #9
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2. Dometic Fridge - Not really an issue from Airstream or Dometic...it just happened and we spent a huge amount of time trying to troubleshoot. Basically, the dealer turned off the propane while tending to issue number 1. Fridge cooled down on shore power but then had no cooling on our travel day because the propane was off. This brought into focus the acute issue of being a 2 way vs 3 way unit. Took forever to get it back working...in the end, had to run the stove top burners for 2-3 mins to get air out of the lines.

This is confusing to me. I thought the 2021 models have two-way (AC/DC) compressor fridges only, no propane. I wonder how yours came with a three-way . . .

Mike
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:49 AM   #10
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I took my 2020 25RB in to them this past Monday. This is the 2nd time it has been in since I took delivery this past March. So far their service as been very good to us. Hopefully, you will get all the bugs worked out quickly and you will be happy with your investment.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:52 AM   #11
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Thumbs up Your not alone.

We have 2016 Classic. After fixing numerous issue in the last four years the question for me is. Would we ever replace our Airstream with a new one. We would not do it.
Just one example of things that I found over the years. The plumbing underneath the shower was not glued up. It started to leak when the pipes came apart. I've still got the pipes to prove it. We love our Airstream now that most issues have been addressed. Things will get better.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:06 AM   #12
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Thanks for this post

We have ordered the same rig, expecting delivery in November from Colonial.
I will keep these issues in mind.
Airstream JC needs to work on this problem of quality control.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:54 AM   #13
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One of the constant themes of Airstream ownership is lack of quality, compounded by lack of dealer vigilance before releasing the unit to the customer. The happiest owners seem to be those who are handyman types and can trouble shoot/fix all of the endless issues that pop up.

The poster's AS lists for $180K. At least his expectations were more in line with a $18K unit, so he wasn't too shocked when so many things went wrong at once. Unfortunately, the AS quality control problems seem to be industry wide.

It took the challenge posed by super reliable Japanese imports before American car mfgs started improving their quality. I don't see that happening in the RV industry.

The best advice seems to be to purchase with your eyes open: expect the worst, give yourself plenty of time and trial runs to sort the myriad problems AS typically have and who knows, maybe you will get lucky and have the rare well built unit?

For a lurker (and non-handyman), like me, these quality and reliability issues make it too risky to purchase an AS. I will stick with my tent for now.
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:12 PM   #14
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DMassey321: Thank you for sharing your insights. Your final words and statement about "lack of PDI" are interesting. This definitely sounds like a complete dealer failure. Given that, what would you do differently if you could do it again?
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkaiseraz View Post
2. Dometic Fridge - Not really an issue from Airstream or Dometic...it just happened and we spent a huge amount of time trying to troubleshoot. Basically, the dealer turned off the propane while tending to issue number 1. Fridge cooled down on shore power but then had no cooling on our travel day because the propane was off. This brought into focus the acute issue of being a 2 way vs 3 way unit. Took forever to get it back working...in the end, had to run the stove top burners for 2-3 mins to get air out of the lines.

This is confusing to me. I thought the 2021 models have two-way (AC/DC) compressor fridges only, no propane. I wonder how yours came with a three-way . . .

Mike
Mike: Many of the other Airstream models have gone to compressor style refrigerators, but the 2021 Classics are still equipped with the old style absorption fridges. The OP's unit is a 2 way (LP/120V). I think he was saying that a 3 way (ability to also run off 12V) would have been an advantage after the problem he had with propane.

BTW, unless I'm wrong (happens a lot), recent model year Airstreams never (nor do they now) come from the factory with a "3 way" fridge. 2 way compressor refrigerators are 120V/12V, and don't work on gas. 2 way absorption refrigerators run on 120V/LP gas, and don't work on 12V.

David
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:18 PM   #16
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If we had the chance to do it over, I guess we would not have rushed the delivery walkthrough. It was late on Friday night and we had been there half a day already installing the ProPride hitch and just wanted to get home to pack for our trip.

We had planned to be out for 6-8 weeks working remotely...but, my employer is calling people back to the office so we only have about 13 days.

I trusted that the dealer would have at least done the basics but in our case they missed a bunch. In their defense, they also were rushing to get us out and on the road (at our request) so, it's a failure but not a total failure ... we caused some of the issue by rushing it.

They received the coach from the shipper on Tuesday mid-day and we were set to take delivery first thing on Saturday morning. However, given we were there on Friday for the hitch, it seemed to make sense to move the delivery up to Friday night so we did not have to return the next morning.

Another learning - if I am being totally honest, is that having an Airstream previously has only had minimal impact on our wisdom as it relates to the new coach. Almost everything about this unit is different from our last one and I think we felt over confident ... how different can it be???? We don't need to test the TV and sound bar...it's brand new...duh.
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:20 PM   #17
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Mike,
I may have it all wrong but a 3-way will run off shore power, LP and/or the batteries (I think). A 2-way such as this one only runs off shore power and LP. So, in our situation, with the LP valves turned off, the fridge literally had no way to cool.
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:46 PM   #18
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After reading these stories of poor quality, I remember one of the top managers at AS JC sharing how happy they were that a new VP of Supply Chain had been established. Anyone else out there wish they would get a VP of Manufacturing that used some sort of Quality Program, like we had years ago at Honeywell/AlliedSignal/Garrett Turbine Engine Company?

As a consumer, I can only imagine why a manufacturing company would put terrible subfloors into their trailers? Regular plywood, instead of Marine grade plywood? 2021 is the FIRST year AS provides composite subfloors?

As we all know, AS JC pays a third party to go thru this forum to find problems such as the OP has presented. JC's response on this thread - "contact us, we can make you happy". IF I were still at Honeywell, our quality team would require an RCCA (Root Cause Corrective Actions) be developed to minimize/eliminate the repeat of these Quality Escapes.

JC please provide your RCCA to this Forum on these quality issues and your named Quality Program - Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement, etc.!

At a semi-Rally this past weekend, an owner of a recent Classic shared that while at JC for Wty work, the technicians were laughing about the poor performance of the folks on the Assembly line and their poor quality of assembly and test. What an embarrassing situation!

My response to these Quality issues is the same as a veteran RV owner provided: "Never buy them new, get them after three or so years and the original owner will have corrected most of the quality defects."
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitcat7 View Post
One of the constant themes of Airstream ownership is lack of quality, compounded by lack of dealer vigilance before releasing the unit to the customer. The happiest owners seem to be those who are handyman types and can trouble shoot/fix all of the endless issues that pop up.

The poster's AS lists for $180K. At least his expectations were more in line with a $18K unit, so he wasn't too shocked when so many things went wrong at once. Unfortunately, the AS quality control problems seem to be industry wide.

It took the challenge posed by super reliable Japanese imports before American car mfgs started improving their quality. I don't see that happening in the RV industry.
Losing significant business to Japanese imports is exactly what forced the US carmakers (big three) to improve. My wife bought a brand new 1978 Firebird many years ago and the window fell out - the bolts and screws were found in the bottom of the door. One screw to hold the window track in place through ďinspectionĒ and out the door to the customer the car went. I bought a brand new full size Blazer in 1985 and the transmission seal was left out - lost all the fluid during the 5 mile drive home. Bodies rusted out in 3 years. The Japanese brought in a quality product at a decent price and suddenly the big 3 were in big trouble. Many years later they are producing a decent vehicle but one that still leaves a lot to be desired. E.g. my Escalade doesnít have zerks (grease fittings) on the ball joints so they canít be greased. These cars are designed to last through the lease period/warranty and thatís it.

RVs are another matter altogether. First neither Thor nor anyone else can afford the huge cost of automated assembly since unit count is low. Writing off the capital cost for precision mass assembly would add many thousands to the cost of each unit. I expect non of us would be willing to pay double or more for these trailers. So that means hand made manufacturing. The RV industry is essentially a cottage industry. Bigger but basically the same. They try and automate what they can afford to, but essentially these trailers are hand built. And that is the basic reason for the quality issues. Of course the designers could improve things immensely without the need for huge capital. Wiring harnesses instead of a rats nest of lose wires for example. Terminal blocks instead of wire nuts. And so on. But they canít afford automated mass production. The workers build these things one at a time. I donít know if Airstream workers are paid on an hourly basis or a piece part basis but that would be an interesting question.

When all is said and done we all spent a lot of money on these things and we would like to have our investment be more worthy but as long as we keep buying, they will continue producing with the same quality. No reason not to.
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Old 09-10-2020, 07:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrusaly View Post
Mike: Many of the other Airstream models have gone to compressor style refrigerators, but the 2021 Classics are still equipped with the old style absorption fridges. The OP's unit is a 2 way (LP/120V). I think he was saying that a 3 way (ability to also run off 12V) would have been an advantage after the problem he had with propane.

BTW, unless I'm wrong (happens a lot), recent model year Airstreams never (nor do they now) come from the factory with a "3 way" fridge. 2 way compressor refrigerators are 120V/12V, and don't work on gas. 2 way absorption refrigerators run on 120V/LP gas, and don't work on 12V.

David
Thanks, David. I see now that you are correct. And I will be, in the future.

Mike
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